Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Views and Points

In keeping with my practice of only taking photos on the most pleasant of days, I offer the following. At the time, the temperature was about 20 and the wind about 30.

We've had a little wind lately. One of the towers of the lift bridge has been wrapped up for months while some work was being done inside. Like a kid on Christmas, the wind apparently was tired of waiting and tore the wrapping to shreds. Between the wind and the flapping, it sounded like a freight train rolling by.

The canal was filled with a churning mass of ice waves.

I'd been to the aquarium earlier, thanks to a free pass from the library.

The highlight for me was a bird, specifically a magpie. When I saw him, I was instantly back in Yellowstone. I stopped to talk of course and he hopped up and clung to the wire right in front of my face for the duration.

The other highlight was witnessing some turtle claw fluttering. I'd witnessed this before when I was a zoo docent--some claim it's about dominance, but most sources identify it as a mating ritual which certainly looks more accurate to me. Not that the two are always separate.

It's been a very good year for Sea Shepherd and the whales near Antarctica as the Japanese were prevented from killing many whales and have headed back to Japan.

I finished a good book the other day: The View from Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World by Carl Safina. If I had more time or my own copy, I'd do a full review. I'd like to own a copy some day, if I ever settle down.

He lives near the end of New York's Long Island, and the nature writing aspect of the book covers events there, and in what are described in the Table of Contents as Travels Polar and Travels Solar ranging from coral reefs to the Arctic and Antarctica. His major interest is the ocean so there is a lot about fish and seabirds. There is also a lot of fishing, but some of it comes with questioning and enlightenment.

A couple highlights for me were a few pages about his experience with peregrine falcons because of my own experience, and a confrontation with a man filling his pickup truck with nesting horseshoe crabs as Safina's companion frantically heaves others from the beach back into the ocean. "It's legal," comes the justification, and that is really the deeper point of the book--how our laws and economics and ethics are hopelessly outdated for our population and what we now know about the ecological reality of the world, such as economics ignoring costs such as pollution as "externalities"--effectively defined as someone else's problem. I don't know if the phrase "privatizing gain and socializing pain" is original to the book, but I love it.

Many books like this don't even have an index. This book has a great one with entries for civilization, common good, community, compassion, consumerism, and corporations. There are other letters as well.

After reading the book, don't miss the shocking last sentence of the Acknowledgments section.

In case you missed it, the Montana House offered up a great example of the incredible ignorance of our society when they voted to ignore the Endangered Species Act. They're also opposed to health reform and food safety, and yes, every moron who voted against endangered species is a Republican. Not that I like Democrats much better, but good lord! What's in that tea they're drinking?

With a little over two weeks left before I head back to Yellowstone, I've been sorting everything into take, store, and sell piles. Last night I was looking at photos from last year, and the excitement is building. Tomorrow I'm hoping to make the last bookselling trip to St. Paul and also visit REI while there to pick up a new duffel bag or two for the trip. And I'm still hoping to get in a hike or two before I leave here--it doesn't take much walking for my foot to get very sore, but it doesn't seem to linger into the next day so this may be as good as it gets from now on. I'll just walk til I drop.


Terry said...

For the ignorant... who is Kenzie?

greentangle said...

Hmmm. Whaddya mean? There's no Kenzie in this post. ;-)

Did you read an earlier version of this post where I mentioned Kenzie or my Amazon review or did you look at the book? Anyway, I was trying to avoid a spoiler--Kenzie goes along on many of the author's walks--a dog.